It is time to gather the questions, make the list, fix the appointments and otherwise get ready to go to Disneyland. Oh sorry, my GPS was off by 300 meters. It is time for DAC whose exhibits size and number of collocated events require a big convention hall to be reserved so much in advance that it takes a clairvoyant to figure out where to locate the conference. After this year, DAC will bounce between San Diego and San Francisco, without declaring any official affiliation to religions that canonize its members. Anaheim is almost half way between Los Angeles and San Diego, and the number of EDA customers in both locations is quite high. There will be interesting things to see, hear, and attend. So do not be discouraged, come and have a good time.
I am not going to dwell on the conference program: you can read all about it at www.dac.com (the official DAC web site).
What to do
If you are an exhibitor, Sunday is an intense work day for you: setting up the booth, testing the equipment, and attending the company's meeting to discuss how the show will be managed. If you are attending DAC, today is likely to be your travel day. Yet there are events going on that, in my opinion, are worth making sure you get to Anaheim in time to attend.
If you are a SystemC user, or you would like to learn more about the language and its environment, you can start by attending the Thirteenth SystemC User Group Workshop on Sunday. This organization, a member of EDAMarket, has shown great professionalism managing the language. The growth of TLM itself is a major statement to OSCI capabilities. The workshop will be held at the Hilton Hotel and starts at 2:30 PM.
The DAC kick-off Reception is always a good place to network. It is on Sunday and starts at 6:00 PM in the Hilton Ballroom. I am told there will be no formal presentation, just a short welcome and then you are free to mill about to reconnect with peers, talk shop with executives, or just figure out whom you will go out to dinner with.
But, you may want to make that dinner a late one and miss all of the children in the restaurants, you can attend the GSEDA presentation. GSEDA stands for Gary Smith EDA. Gary and Mary Olsson will present an updated analysis of the industry with forecast and trends. It will be at the Hilton but I am not sure where as yet. Gary wants to make sure you know there will be no food or drink, so this is a serious opportunity to learn. The people at the DAC kick-off Reception should take note of the possible higher need for food and drink from those planning to go to listen to Gary and Mary.
I would like to point out two activities taking place in the exhibit area. The first one is the kick-off session in the DAC Pavilion at 9:15 on Monday. Not just because Gary will tell you what to see, but because I am told the introduction to his talk will be unusual, to say the least, featuring EDA people (one of whom is an EDAMarket principal contributor) showcasing talents not known by the general public.
By the way, if you would like a list of the Gary Smith's must see vendors list go here.
The other event is the Synopsys Conversation Central. Started last year with very good success, this activity this year looks so professionally put together to rival a commercial broadcast company. It takes place over two days, Tuesday and Wednesday. I will be part of this event on Tuesday at 11:30. Karen Bartleson, the prophet of informal communication at Synopsys, has just published her first book "The Ten Commandments of Effective Standards". My role is to explore whether we are really talking about divine commandments, or simply Karen's opinions. Just because she lives in Colorado, it does not mean she went to the mountain and came back with tablets! And why is she printing a book when she is so excited about the web and its devilish child: Social Media".
On Tuesday you should also plan to attend the Accellera Breakfast, now a DAC tradition. It starts early, especially for those who are just returning from the Denali Party on Monday night. Food will be served at 7:30 in Room 203B of the Convention Center. A panel of experts will address the topic of UVM, one of the latest technical development from Accellera. To read about the panel, and to register for the event go here. The event will terminate at 9:00 so that you will be on time for the formal DAC program.
Keynotes vary in quality according to the speaker's ability as a public speaker. The three on the program, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, promise to be interesting. But if you can only attend one, make it Wednesday at 11:30 in the Conference center Ballroom. Dr. Bernie Meyerson of IBM will be the featured speaker. He has delivered a keynote speech at DAC in the past, so he has experience. What he has to say is always interesting, but what I find even more interesting is to hear an engineer speak so eloquently about a subject. Engineers are often accused of being non-communicative. Bernie disproves this with a flare.
I have already mentioned the Denali Party on Monday evening (and night), but, not to be outdone, Denali is also sponsoring the DAC Party on Tuesday evening in the Hilton Pacific Ballroom.
The Exhibitors I Like
My list of companies to see is shorter than Gary Smith's one. Six of mine are also part of Gary Smith's What to See @ DAC 2010. In their booths you will find leading products presented by highly competent Application Engineers and Marketing Professionals. I chose my list based on technical capabilities of the products, as well as business potential.
Apache Design Automation
Power, noise, and reliability are major design concerns today that require proven solutions to ensure that your design functions properly, meets the power and performance requirements, and can be produced at the lowest possible cost. Apache is the leading supplier of power, noise, and reliability solutions from RTL to Silicon, Analog to Digital, and Chip to Package / System.
Leading semiconductor companies such as LSI, MoSys, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and TSMC will share their best practices for addressing RTL power reduction, power integrity sign-off, EM/ESD validations, and chip-package-system co-design/co-analysis. Attend one or more of their presentations to learn how these leading companies are addressing the critical power and noise challenges and the results they obtained by using Apache's products.
Get all of the details of Apache's presence at DAC here.
Cadence Design Systems
I am sure by now you have heard about EDA360 and formed your own opinion about it. You can read my opinion in this article.
I just would like to point out that EDA360 reminds me of the IBM360. Both contain a mystical number, and while the IBM360 signaled a change in business use of computing equipment, EDA360 still needs time to prove itself. You need to find a way to learn more about it.
Cadence has a multi-dimensional presence at the conference. You can find details here.
This is probably the most popular company with DAC attendees who have enjoyed its generosity for many years at the Denali Party. Denali, together with Atrenta and Springsoft has also underwritten the Free Monday Exhibit Passes for the last two years. You should stop by the booth if nothing else to congratulate Sanjay, David and the gang for a successful end to their corporate growth. Denali is also sponsoring the Tuesday evening DAC Party, so you get twice the opportunity to have fun with them. But fun is not the only thing Denali is about. Find out all of their DAC activities here.
This company is another example of how a relatively small but focus organization can successfully compete in the EDA market. Their products are very well positioned in a market segment, emulation, that is very competitive, both in its technical and the business aspects. Their growth in the American market is a testimony of the energy and creativity of its leading representative in the US: the Italian born Lauro Rizzatti. And remember: a Zebu is more than a weird looking cow.
Get all of the details about the company and its presence at the conference from this web site.
Jasper Design Automation
Jasper is the perfect example that the glass ceiling can be broken. Guided by CEO Kathryn Kranen and VP of Marketing Holly Stump the company technology has found the proper direction to become a leading entry in the formal verification market. Kathryn has been a leader with EDAC and serves as its Vice-Chair for a second term, while Holly has dedicated a lot of time to the Workshop for Women in Electronic design Automation (WWEDA) to be held on Monday June 14th from 11:30 to 2:00 in room 204B of the Convention Center.
At DAC they will showcase their newest version of ActiveDesign and JasperGold/JasperCore that are now fully integrated and provide a robust debug environment for both verification and design engineers. In describing their latest release Brian Bailey wrote that "Jasper hit it out of the ballpark". An unusual hyperbole from Brian, who is morphing from a technical consultant into a marketing blogger under the influence of financial rewards. The fruits of electronic publishing!
To see all of their DAC activities and register for their events go to this site.
Magma Design Automation
Two years ago betting people were wagering their money against its survival. But Magma has come back from an exhausting legal battle with Synopsys that had drained the attention of its senior management from the technology issues. It is neither easy nor fun to go against Aart's team, and magma paid the price.
But now Magma is back reworked into a slimmer and more focused organization. Although it is still serving the digital design market, it has significantly expanded its position in the analog, mixed signal, and RF segment. its latest new product, Tekton, is a fresh approach to the timing analysis problem that brings a new architecture and new algorithms to a market that had not seen much technological development due to the dominance of Prime Time, a juggernaut no one had dared to challenge until two months ago. Magma promises to be very visible at the Conference. See details here.
Mentor Graphics Corporation
Whether we will see Carl Icahn at DAC or not, his shadow will be there feeding the rumor mills and giving editors and analysis material to use in conversations with Wally and Greg. We will get to hear their point of view on how to "improve the stock value".
On the technical side Mentor continues to grow its capabilities in the ESL market with both Catapult and Precision synthesis products. It is one of the leading providers of UVM capabilities for verification, and its Calibre product for IC verification and manufacturability is still the leading product in its field. One of its most profitable divisions, the System Design one, will unfortunately not have a big presence at DAC. I continue not to understand the low importance given to PCB, manufacturing, and thermal issues outside of the die by the conference organizers. When will the "silicon heads" realize that the tar balls are coming?
Mentor presence at DAC is impressive. You can practically spend all of your days just attending their sessions. For details look here.
I will miss Scott Sandler this year, but Oz levia will be a valiant substitute to impress me with their technology and understanding of the verification nightmare. Springsoft, as EVE, is a successful and relatively large EDA company not headquartered in the US. In addition to verification it also supports place and route engineers with its Laker product. So here is a simple guide for you: if it is a musician, it is a verification tool, if it sounds like a basketball team it is a physical design product. Springsoft, like Atrenta and Denali, is responsible for making Free Monday, a reality also this year. That alone is worth a visit to thank them for their spirit.
Springsoft will have a busy DAC. See al their activities at their site.
You cannot go to DAC and ignore the largest EDA company around. It is like going to the zoo and miss the elephants. You do not have to bring peanuts: there is nothing trivial going on at Synopsys these days: well, may be almost nothing, if we count some of the Twitter tidbits from some of their more visible employees (You know who you are Rich and Karen). But we all know: it is wise to prepare an alternative career, just n case: for these two Hollywood calls.
Synopsys has made significant investments in the Virtual Prototyping market: go see what it is all about. And while there, check out the rest of the products: it is always good to see what they have; it is a critical benchmark of everything IC design requires.
A varied and extensive collection of seminars, events, and opportunities for free food are available from Synopsys. Se the entire inventory here.
The company, headquartered in Monrovia, at the outskirts of Pasadena in Southern California offers some very interesting products that support analog, mixed/signal, and RF designers. Mother nature is analog although she does tolerate the "simplicity" of digital, and Tanner EDA gets to the nucleus of it. HiPer DevGen is their latest product, certainly worth a demo, but let them tell you about their philosophy of analog design. I promise you will not think you have wasted time. For a list of all of their events and presentations at DAC, including their first world wide user forum, visit their DAC specific site.
But do not forget
Other companies you should visit include: Oasys, making loud noises in physical design, Zocalo, for formal verification, Orora, analog design, Vennsa, design verification, and Atrenta, if for nothing else just to say thanks.
Stop by Standards Booth and find out how you too can be a Standard Maker and achieve your fifteen minutes of fame without embarrassing yourself on Facebook.
See you around DAC: I am the one looking exhausted from running from one appointment to the next.